Landscape connectivity of a sagebrush obligate: functional continuity of habitat for the pygmy rabbit

Photo of pygmy rabbit

Project Overview

This project quantifies functional landscape connectivity of the pygmy rabbit, a sensitive, sagebrush ecosystem obligate, through integration of landscape genomic data with statistical modeling of habitat quality and connectedness.

The project team will:

  • Use models to forecast the distribution and landscape connectivity of this species under various climate change scenarios.
  • Identify those critical areas with greatest potential to facilitate distributional shifts in response to climate change.
  • Further refine the predictive capabilities of these models.

One Year Project Update

This project quantifies functional landscape connectivity of the pygmy rabbit, a sensitive, sagebrush ecosystem obligate, through integration of landscape genomic data with statistical modeling of habitat quality and connectedness. In their first year of work on this project, researcher have obtained samples from 17 populations throughout the range of pygmy rabbit. Thus far, the team has genotyped 190 samples at 13 microsatellite loci. Preliminary analyses suggest that there are deep regional subdivisions within our sampled range of pygmy rabbit. Further spatial and genetic sampling is ongoing and will reveal the spatial extent of these genetically differentiated groups and provide better estimates of the depth and timing of divergence within this system.

Project Documents

Theme: Climate Change, Fish and Wildlife

Project start date: 1/1/2015

Fiscal year funded: 2014

Project status: Active

Project managers: Dr. Marjorie Matocq, University of Nevada Reno